Norwich Airport aims for take-off with wider route network

Exhibition of the Norwich Aeropark expansion plans on display at Norwich International Airport. Chie

Exhibition of the Norwich Aeropark expansion plans on display at Norwich International Airport. Chief Executive Andrew Bell. Photo: Steve Adams

The boss of Norwich airport is targeting new routes to both in the UK and overseas as figures show the business has dramatically reduced its losses.

Andrew Bell, chief executive said he was looking to create a 'sustainable' passenger route network as it drives ahead with plans to bolster its offering to travellers, but one of the biggest challenges for regional airports is to keep its flight paths consistent.

But he revealed that it would be targeting new routes to Paris, Newcastle, Dublin, and areas within the Mediterranean, as it looks to boost its portfolio.

In a sign of its improving fortunes, the airport's last set of accounts published on March 31 2012 revealed it had cut its operating loss from £463,000 to £61,000, while increasing its turnover slightly from £10.827m to £10.994m.

Cashflow had also increased dramatically from £838,000 to £2,252,000.

The flight hub in Hellesdon-area of Norwich recently secured a string of new deals that will see its passenger capacity shoot up by an extra 60,000 seats this summer after adding more flights to popular destinations, and brand new flights to Tenerife and Dalaman, Turkey.

Meanwhile, plans were submitted last month for its 100,000sqm Aeropark maintenance site, which aims to create 1,000 new jobs, and will be home to aeroplane painting business Air Livery.

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And last month Dutch airline giant KLM announced a fourth daily service from Norwich Airport to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for this summer.

He said: 'We expect the year ahead to be a strong year for the airport in terms of laying the foundations for growth.

'From the passenger perspective our aim is to build a sustainable passenger route network, and we have plenty of work to do on that front.

'Newcastle, Dublin, Paris are the routes we are working on bringing in and there is a huge demand for schedule flights to the Mediterranean.'

Mr Bell added: 'On the maintenance and development side, our aim in the next ten years is to develop that business fully and create 1,000 jobs. This will make us a leading player in terms of what we can deliver to the UK, and the EU market.

'Elsewhere for offshore, we need to build on the progress that we have made already. We are a significant player in the UK supply chain, and that needs to continue.

He also expressed his desire to improve public transport links to the airport, which currently has no direct bus to the train station or the University of East Anglia.

'Another objective and improvement we want to make is the transport links to the airport. We need to look harder at how we can connect ourselves into the bus network and the rail network.

'Every airport in the country took some steps back when the financial crisis hit. But we have made some steady progress in the last few years, and that is what we hope to do in the future.'